Long before I published my first novel, I tried to join a neighborhood fiction writing workshop, only to be told by one member, 'Sorry, come back when you get published. We can't accept novices.' Yeah, that stung.
When friends ask how and why I came to write a novel about the silent film era, the first answer that comes to mind is that the novel is inspired not by my love of movies, but by my childhood love of listening to stories on the radio.
I've never been to Singapore and/or Borneo, or to any other place in Asia, and when people ask me about the book, and discover this is so, they seem bewildered. As in: How can you write about a place you've never seen or been to?